Thanks for the responses to my initial post - empirical reserach on the legal profession. I received some interesting responses, both submitted to the blog and to me directly.
I have a follow-up query that poses a specific question about the legal profession. One person responded that one area where empirical research would be helpful would be in the area of bar passage.
Bar passage rates vary across schools and across different demographics of students. And almost all law schools grapple with how to improve bar passage among its graduates. Based on conversations with colleagues at my own school and with professors at other schools, theories abound on the causal reasons for differential performance in bar passage, ranging from race, to class, to pedagogy.
Rigorous research on this issue are surprisingly sparse. There is an dangerous tendency to rely on studies that draw conclusions on simple comparisons across groups, without thinking more deeply about either alternative explanations or confounding factors.
My question, thus, is this: 1) what are the factors that explain differences in bar passage rates?, and 2) how might we go about testing this (both practically obtaining data as well as methodological approaches to tease out what we believe might be the causal factors)?
Thanks very much.